|Saturday’s Red Sox-Mariners matchups: Josh Beckett vs. Blake Beavan||07.23.11 at 1:00 pm ET|
Josh Beckett deserved a win last time around, allowing only one hit in eight innings. Though the Red Sox eventually won in 16 innings thanks to some late-game heroics from Dustin Pedroia, Beckett (8-3, 2.12 ERA) walked away from the stadium with a no decision. Overall, in his last three starts, the right-handed hurler is 2-0 with a 1.71 ERA and 20 strikeouts. Saturday, he’ll look for win No. 9 against rookie Blake Beavan and the Mariners.
The right-handed Beavan will be making his fourth major-league start since being called up to fill in for injured, left-hander Erik Bedard. Beavan (1-1, 2.70 ERA) has been solid in each of his three outings, averaging 6 2/3 innings and striking out a total of eight batters. In 16 starts at Triple-A Tacoma, Beavan was 5-4 with a 4.45 ERA. He also averaged 6.2 strikeouts and 1.9 walks per nine innings.
Beckett has been successful in the past against the Mariners. Chone Figgins (.324) is the only Seattle batter who has an average of over .250 (minimum three plate appearances). Franklin Gutierrez has reached base just twice in 13 plate appearances against Beckett, while Miguel Olivo, Justin Smoak and Josh Bard are a combined 0-for-7 against the Boston starter. Overall, current Mariners bring a .232 average, .283 on-base percentage and a .304 slugging percentage into the game. They have one home run, five doubles, eight walks, and a whopping 39 strikeouts.
The Red Sox batters have not struggled quite as mightily against Beavan, but of course, they have never faced him. Read the rest of this entry »
|Josh Reddick: Red Sox proving ‘they believe in me’||at 12:20 am ET|
Ever since his debut in 2009, Josh Reddick has been proving himself to the Red Sox.
Finally on Friday, the Red Sox and skipper Terry Francona had seen enough from Reddick to bench J.D. Drew in favor of the young up-and-coming outfielder.
In short, Reddick now knows the Red Sox trust him.
Reddick went 1-for-4 Friday night filling in for the slumping Drew in right field but is still hitting .372 in 30 games and has become a regular fixture in the Red Sox outfield since Carl Crawford went on the disabled list in mid-June. His presence in the Red Sox outfield after Crawford’s return speaks volumes to what the Sox think of him.
“Getting the start tonight, especially against a guy like that, who’s always in the league leaders in innings pitched, and as well as he’s done in his career, shows me they believe in me a lot more than they have in the past,” Reddick said of his start against Seattle’s Felix Hernandez. “Hopefully, I can get out there, whether it’s some “Joe Schmoe” or somebody like that, just keep taking it one day at a time, whether I’m playing or not.”
Reddick played 27 games for the Red Sox in his first call-up in 2009, and 29 last year. So Friday – his 30th game of 2011 – was a significant milestone for Reddick.
“It’s a good feeling inside,” he said. “When they believe in me like they they do, it just gives me that much more confidence, whether it be [in clubhouse] or out there [on field], and knowing that they do believe in me is a huge thing I thrive on.”
He might not be able to help out on the field on a night like Friday, when he was benched in favor of Reddick, but that doesn’t mean Drew is holding any grudges. At least any that keep him from helping a young player trying to learn to play right field at Fenway.
Greg Halman hit a sinking, fading liner to right in the fifth inning as dusk was turning to night. It’s a liner that Drew has made a career of catching, going into his trademark slide to get low enough to see it before it gets lost in the huge panel of lights high above the third base stands. But Reddick has far less experience, as this was just his fifth start of the season in right field. Read the rest of this entry »
|Red Sox pregame notes: Josh Reddick provides a ‘lift’ while J.D. Drew sits||07.22.11 at 5:16 pm ET|
One has to wonder just how long this rest is going to last for J.D. Drew.
On Friday, Red Sox skipper Terry Francona made no bones about the fact that he his going with the scorching hand of Josh Reddick in favor of the ice-cold Drew, despite Drew playing in the final year of his five-year, $70 million deal.
Drew is batting .219 with just four homers and 21 RBIs in 77 games this season. Reddick, called up in May, was recalled on June 18 when Carl Crawford went on the disabled list, and hasn’t been back down to Triple-A Pawtucket.
“[Reddick is] swinging the bat awfully well,” Francona said. “It’s kind of hard not to play him. Josh deserves to play. He’s given us such a lift in our lineup. We want to win games. At the moment, Red gives us a better chance.”
Reddick was penciled in as the starter in right field Friday, and is batting .378 with four home runs and 18 RBI in 29 games. Friday marked his fifth start in right field after 14 starts in left and two in center.
“It’s a great feeling, being a part of a lineup like this,” Reddick said prior to the series opener with the Mariners.
Reddick, in speaking to reporters before the game, said he’s not going to let trade talk involving his name distract him from the task at hand.
Francona – as is his trademark – was proactive in letting Drew have time to process the decision to sit him against righty Felix Hernandez. Read the rest of this entry »
|Monday’s Red Sox-Orioles matchups: Tim Wakefield vs. Brad Bergesen||07.18.11 at 10:35 am ET|
The Red Sox continue their six-game road trip Monday when they travel to Camden Yards to face the Orioles. This will be Boston’s second trip to Baltimore this season, with the Orioles taking two of three from Boston back in April. That was April, however, and the Red Sox are a much-improved team since then, having won their last six against Baltimore.
Tim Wakefield will look for win No. 199 when he takes the mound for the Red Sox, who have won Wakefield’s previous two starts. Wakefield won his last start, giving up three earned runs in seven innings against the Blue Jays on July 6. Camden Yards has always been good to Wakefield, who is 7-5 with a 3.80 ERA there.
The Orioles counter with Brad Bergesen, who is 1-6 with a 5.65 ERA this season. Bergesen lost his spot in the starting rotation after losing against the Athletics on May 28. Since then, Bergesen has been used primarily as a long reliever. Bergesen has been inconsistent in that role, giving up three runs or more in three outings (11 runs in 5 1/3 total innings) and pitching multiple-inning shutouts in four others (8 2/3 total innings). Bergesen is 2-3 lifetime against the Red Sox with a 3.06 ERA.
Wakefield will catch a break Monday thanks to Vladimir Guerrero going on the DL with a broken hand. Guerrero has five home runs and nine RBIs against Wakefield, most on the Orioles. Nick Markakis is second with two home runs and five RBIs, but Markakis is also a .185 career hitter against Wakefield. Derrek Lee has also had success against Wakefield, going 4-for-7 with two doubles and three walks. Nolan Reimold is 2-for-5 with a double in five appearances but has also struck out twice.
Adrian Gonzalez has had Bergesen’s number in their short history together, going 4-for-4 with a walk in five appearances. Gonzalez has doubled twice and driven in three. Boston’s 1-2 punch of Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia also has had success: Ellsbury bats .364 with two doubles against Bergesen, and Pedroia bats .357. Carl Crawford picked a good pitcher for his return to the majors, having gone 4-for-10 with a home run against Bergesen. J.D. Drew is a .333 hitter against Bergesen, has homered twice and driven in four.
|Trade Deadline: Red Sox interested in Dodgers’ Hiroki Kuroda, but he won’t play for East Coast team||07.17.11 at 8:15 pm ET|
FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal said in a video Saturday that the Red Sox may be looking for pitching rotation help from the Dodgers’ Hiroki Kuroda. However, after speaking with two East Coast team executives, MLB.com’s Peter Gammons wrote Sunday that Kuroda would not waive his full no-trade clause to play for an East Coast team.
A 36-year-old right-handed pitcher from Japan, Kuroda is 6-11 with a 3.13 ERA this year with the Dodgers. He has held opponent batters to a .249 average and .298 OBP.
Kuroda has played in only three games ever against the American League, going 1-2 with a .306 ERA. He has never faced an AL East team or played at an AL East park.
|Saturday’s Red Sox matchups: John Lackey vs. James Shields||07.16.11 at 3:56 pm ET|
John Lackey had one of the worst first-half performances of any player in Major League Baseball. The 32-year-old right-hander earned a result in all 14 of his starts, going 6-8 with a 6.84 ERA in only 79 innings.
Lackey did offer reason for some optimism in his last start before the All-Star break. Pitching 6.2 innings against the Orioles one week ago, the 6-foot-6 hurler held the Baltimore bats scoreless, leading the Sox to a 4-0 victory. He allowed just three hits and one walk while striking out seven.
Lackey will look to build off that performance Saturday, facing James Shields and the Rays. Shields (8-7, 2.33) is also coming off an impressive performance, his Major League-leading seventh complete game of 2011. The 29-year-old right-hander allowed just one unearned run and four hits against the Yankees, picking up a tough loss. Though he is 3-4 pitching at Tropicana Field this season, he boasts a 2.05 ERA in his home park.
The Boston bats have seen a lot of Shields — 326 plate appearances to be exact. J.D. Drew and David Ortiz have combined for five home runs, 13 doubles and 17 RBIs and are two of Red Sox batters with batting averages of at least .310 against Shields. Jason Varitek and Dustin Pedroia also have two longballs apiece against the Tamps Bay starter. Overall, current Red Sox hitters enter the game with a .263 batting average, .325 on-base percentage and .448 slugging percentage against Shields.
The Rays, on the other hand, arguably hit the former Angel harder than any other team in the big leagues. Six of seven batters are hitting over .270 against Lackey (minimum of 10 plate appearances), led by former Red Sox centerfielder Johnny Damon who enters the game with a .368 batting average. Overall, current Rays hitters enter the game with a .293 batting average, .348 on-base percentage and .367 slugging percentage against the Sox starter. Read the rest of this entry »
|Carl Crawford gets some work in and gets his legs back under him||07.15.11 at 8:47 pm ET|
PAWTUCKET, R.I. — The offensive aspect of Carl Crawford‘s game was answered Friday night as he went 1-for-2 with a walk in three plate appearances in his first of two minor league rehab assignments with the PawSox. Crawford also scored and drove in a run in Pawtucket’s 3-2 win over Durham at McCoy, helping Kevin Millwood improved to 5-0 in his minor league assignment with the Red Sox.
Crawford drove in Che-Hsuan Lin from third on a broken bat single to center, hanging in on a changeup from Durham starter Alex Torres in the first inning.
The biggest and best test of his left hamstring came in the third when he took ball 4 on a full count. After showing his batting eye hasn’t been affected in his month off, he took off for second on a hit-and-run on a single by Ryan Lavarnway. As important as his explosion from first was, his ability to put on the breaks around second was just as significant. He did both cleanly.
“The most important thing was being able to take out of the [batter's] box like I normally can, being able to move quick without worrying about my hamstring and I had a few moments today where I was able to test it,” Crawford said after his 20-minute treatment in the whirlpool.
“That felt good, that was a time I had to test it and it felt good. When you stop like that, something can happen. So when you stop real quick and nothing happens, that’s a good sign.”
Crawford advanced to third on a single to left but was held up around third. He faced the hard-throwing lefty Torres in the first and righty Lance Cormier in the third and fifth.
“Getting back out here and seeing live pitching definitely helped me,” Crawford said. “It’s all about the timing. You’ve got a lefty throwing pretty hard so I tried to see a few and make the adjustments I need to make from there. It was a little challenging but I was able to make a few adjustments.”
Crawford grounded a ball into the hole at short after Daniel Nava singled to open the fifth. Nava appeared safe at second but was ruled out, costing Crawford his second single.
There would be no hard running on the bases this time as Lavarnway blasted a long homer to left, allowing Crawford to easily jog the bases on the round-tripper that made it 3-1 PawSox.
Crawford’s only defensive chance came in the fourth when caught a fly ball off the bat of J.J. Furmaniak.
Crawford will play again Saturday night for Pawtucket before taking Sunday off. If his left hamstring responds, he will be activated for Monday’s game in Baltimore.
“We’re just trying to get my legs back under me right now so we didn’t see the need to play nine innings,” Crawford said of playing just five innings Friday. “As long as I was able to the things that I can do when I’m in the big leagues, that’s all I need to do. Just see if I can do it two days in a row. Just want to do everything two days in a row, make sure there’s no pain and nothing like that. After that happens, I’ll be ready to go.”
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